The Church is not merely a building, or a congregation that meets on Sunday morning, but it is a thriving community, a web of support for many areas of the Christian’s life.
And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
(Act 2:44 KJVA)
And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
(Act 4:32 KJVA)
This is not the institutional communism proposed by Lenin and others in Soviet Russia, but a deep seat feeling that the new body of Christ was one that was fitly framed together, so when one is in need, all are in need. Luke says that the Church was of one heart and because of these, they held those possessions as common, meaning that when one member was in need, someone else stepped in with some measure of support.
In Acts chapter 6, we see that the service ministry of the Church had grown so large as to require a new office in the Church, that of Deacon, and that that office should be charged with serving the people in the physical needs. Further, in Peter and Jude, the reference is made to a feast of charity, a habit of the early Church i bringing food to the poor among them. This was not charity as we think it, and it rightly should be called love, but a dinner among brothers and sisters, equal.
Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not burn with indignation?
(2Co 11:29 NET)
Showing us the fullest extent of the Christian union with one another. In another letter, the most personal of all of Paul’s letter, he tells Philemon,
Hearing of your love towards the saints and of your faith which you have in the Lord Jesus. I pray that the communion of your faith will work good things when you understand your full capacity for good in the cause of Christ Jesus. For we have great joy and comfort from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.
(Phm 1:5-7 CTV-NT)
We have a great capacity for good, the Church, when our faith is in communion (sharing) one with another. A good many times the Church is looked on as being a collection of individual Saints instead of a single community of believers. What hurts one, as Paul says, hurts all. When one falls, we loose a part of us, a deep cut. The Church provides a support system for those that are hurting in one way or another.
Our mission is to bring the gospel to a hurting world, but it seems a good many times we forget that a central part of the Church to the Christian is the healing of the Saint, and indeed the health and welfare of the Church members. Paul was a great one to constantly encourage the members of the Church, not just in doctrine, but in spiritual health as well.
To all who are called saints, beloved of God, who are in Rome – Grace and peace to you from God our Father and Lord, Jesus Christ. First of all, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, that your faith is proclaimed and celebrated throughout the entire world. For God, whom I sacredly serve in my spirit as a minister of the gospel of his son, is my witness that I unceasingly make remembrance of you, Always in my prayers, imploring that by the will of God I might be prospered to come to you. For I long to see you, that I may share with you some spiritual gift, that you may be more steadfastly strengthened — Rather, that is, that I may also be encouraged together with you, through our mutual faith.
(Rom 1:7-12 CTV-NT)
To the Romans he wished to impart and to take something from then, a refreshing in the spirit. We can find strength in the love of the brethren when it seems that we are at our weakest.
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace.
(Php 1:3-7 NKJV)
Again, Paul is writing to a group of believers that have taken a special action to support him in his ministry and he returns their favor.
So, let us hold all things common – both the good and the bad – so that we may uplift others and have them up lift us.